Thursday, September 9, 2010

Not so Funny

That I suffer from paralysing bouts of depression is not news to me. When that frozen despair makes its way across my synapses, the pain is obvious and instant - it can happen in a matter of minutes. Wrestling with Life is one thing, having to wrestle with one's own brain is just adding insult.

But it has taken the Editor to point out that that I have been suffering a general depression for a couple of months now. It seems that this has been reflected in my posts, which have been bereft of the lighter side of life.

Sorry about that! I have long lost the ability to judge my own writing, I have little idea whether it is good or bad. All that is left for me is a sense of whether a piece has been easy to write or whether it was a wrestling match between myself, my brain and the English language. And the effort going into a piece may have no relationship with the quality of the final output.

Having been prompted to take a shufti over recent output, I'm not going to disagree with the Ed's insight. Added to the fact that I spent untold hours staring at the screen, or the floor, working through a sludge of apathy, may also be a clue that something is Not Quite Right with me of late.

And this has to happen just when I read that the effects of Prozac are no greater than a placebo. Bugger. Bear with me.


  1. I think what you describe is fairly common with writers - but you do have the benefit of relatively immediate feedback. Make no mistake, your posts, every single one of them, are an inspiration. How to deal with depression is another thing entirely, and I wish you well with that.

  2. This is news to me that somehow over the last two months your writing reflects your depression.

    I have not noticed this at all.

    I agree with Robert, your posts are inspiring, witty and shed light on aspects of life that are (and we know they are) true. You have a rare talent and you are an exceptional writer.

    That you doubt your writing is normal in talented and creative people.

    As for depression, it is not an illness although it can be extremely debilitating I know.

    There are various med available.

    Prozac should only be taken for a maximum of three months, it is a short term drug.

    If used for longer it will lose its effect, but in my experience of taking it, it can work.

    In fact I cannot take it at all now because for me within days I lift so high I need help to bring me back down, so I steer clear from it.

    Otherwise, I am always advised to exercise to get those serotonin levels up.

    And lastly be around good people, that could vary from person to person of course, but people in general who can make you feel good rather than those who bring you down. Obvious really I know.

    Take care Ben hope you feel better soon, never fear, your writing is top quality and very beautiful in places too. I'm rooting for you.

  3. I feel sad for you Ben, keep strong please. It would be a miracle if you did not feel depressed as who can be incarcerated for so long and remain positive. You have done wonders with yourself and try to keep strong for what we all hope is the final hurdle. Your writings are an inspiration and have kept me going through many dark deep periods so I hope we can help you through your depression. It is obvious to me, and countless others that you are a lovely person and deserve good things to happen - they will. Keep strong.

  4. Sorry to hear that Ben, we all have off days, nothing worse than having an off day in jail, as you can't do much about it, like you can out here. Going for a drink, chating to a friend, treat yourself to something in the shops etc. There are lots of funny things happening in jail, perhaps you can share them when your feeling a little perkier.

  5. You have more reason than most of us for depression - don't let your worries about your readers add to those reasons. The down side of life in prison is just as real, and just as important to communicate, as the up side.
    Take care of yourself, and write what you want to write.

  6. There is a saying that is going around on face book, I saw it again this morning and its relevant so I thought I'd post it here.

    "Depression is not a sign of weakness, it is just a sign that we have been strong for too long."

    Look after yourself Ben.